American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken has formed a new charity to benefit children with mental disabilities.

Aiken made the surprise announcement of forming the BUBEL-AIKEN FOUNDATION last week (ends01AUG03) in New York City at the opening of a new WACHOVIA bank branch with the Big Apple's mayor Michael Bloomberg.

He says in a statement, "The Bubel-Aiken foundation is something I was going to have Wachovia help me set up and manage anyway, so I just thought, 'Why not do it today.'

"DIANE BUBEL is a close friend of mine from home and she changed my life because she's the one who encouraged me to audition for American Idol. That's why I'm starting this foundation in her name. Hopefully we can make some positive changes in the lives of children with mental disabilities."

Wachovia bank, whose event the singer was attending when he made the announcement, opened an account for his new foundation and handed over a $10,000 (GBP6,250) donation in Aiken's name.

Aiken's account was the first official account at the bank's new Rockefeller location.

05/08/2003 09:22